Cardinal Sean O’Malley flies to Rome as pope exits

boston Cardinal Sean O'Mallley in Flight to Rome
Cardinal Sean O’Malley reads La Repubblica, an Italian newspaper, during his Tuesday night flight to Rome ahead of a meeting with outgoing Pope Benedict XVI.
Credit: Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Cardinal Sean O’Malley has a reputation of being a modest man as the leader of the Archdiocese of Boston, having sold off the archbishop’s Brighton mansion and sticking to his traditional brown robe in a show of his vow of poverty.

So it seems that maybe it was a case of divine intervention that O’Malley was able to land a business class seat on his Tuesday night flight to Rome ahead of a meeting with outgoing Pope Benedict XVI.

The archdiocese released on Wednesday a picture of O’Malley on his flight to Rome. An archdiocese spokeswoman confirmed the seat was business class.

The person who took the picture, Gregory Tracy, a photographer for the catholic newspaper The Pilot, explained that the flight was not the original one O’Malley had planned to take. There were delays, Tracy said, and O’Malley was rebooked on the first and most reliable flight because he had to be in Rome for Wednesday. The rebooked seats ended up being business class.

A spokesman for the archdiocese said that O’Malley travels in modest terms.

“He is not one for pomp or special attention given his life of prayer and commitment to his vow of poverty which he shares with us daily in his priestly ministry,” said Terry Donlin, the spokesman.

Given O’Malley’s preference for the simple life, the special seating may have been uncomfortable for the cardinal. But, then again, is anyone really uncomfortable with extra leg room?

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.


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